The Escape Artist

What I want to share here today comes near the end of this book (which I still have a few more pages to go to complete it).  I do recommend it.  It is a very interesting story of a troubled sibling relationship and that is what drew me to read it after seeing a review.  This snippet does not spoil reading the story for anyone who is intrigued.  There is much more there than this insight.

There is the strange case of the nephew. Nine months after the author’s mother escaped from Poland with Luigi, the Italian officer who saved her life, the nephew was born. The mother’s arrival at her sister’s apartment in Rome in 1943 coincided with his birth.

Her mother had been arrested at the Italian border and thanks to the assistance of her brother in law was released to a gentle concentration camp in the south of Italy where she was allowed to spend her days knitting and reading.

But given the lies in her family, was it really a concentration camp or a home for unwed mothers ?

When her father miraculously escaped from a Siberian gulag, he pretends to be Catholic in order to marry the author’s mother. He was disturbed at how attached the 3 yr old boy was with his new wife. The child threw a fit at the prospect of being moved to the aunt’s room.

They were newlyweds but the mom would not part from the boy and so he slept in the same room with them. This caused the father to resent his nephew by marriage.

Finally, when the boy was 8, the mom and her husband emigrated to the US but the parting at the Rome train station was traumatic. The mom hated to leave the boy.

After the older sister was born, the mother sank into a deep depression that lasted years. That boy embodied all the the mother had lost and left behind (as a Holocaust survivor most of her family had been murdered).  She had escaped with nothing but the seed of this child growing inside her.

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